MD vs DO: What’s the difference & which is better?


(hip-hop beat) – The majority of licensed
medical physicians practicing medicine in
the US today are MDs, also known as “medical doctors.” However, there is also
an increasing number of practicing physicians known as DOs, which means “doctors of
osteopathic medicine.” Both are equally licensed
to practice medicine in all 50 states. I wanna make one point
very clear before we start: one degree is not better than the other. In fact, they have so many similarities it would probably take
an hour to cover them. This video is gonna focus
only on the differences between an MD and a DO The most evident
difference between the two is that DOs practice
something called O.M.T., which is “osteopathic
manipulative therapy.” Instead of just telling you,
I’d much rather show you. Come on. Osteopathic manipulation is
a hands-on therapeutic tool whereby manipulating
the body’s own tissues can restore and maintain optimal function. And it’s a low-risk, conservative measure that can be used in place
of medication and surgery. And it treats all types of ailments, everything from low back pain, to something more complex
like congestive heart failure. Take a deep breath in. Deep breath out. (neck popping) (patient laughing) How’s that feel? – Really good! – In osteopathic medical
school, there’s a heavy emphasis placed on the holistic medical approach. Now what does that mean? It means an extra focus on the body’s own ability to heal itself, a focus on prevention, and
a focus on the whole patient instead of just the disease process. Just because there’s a heavier emphasis placed on this holistic
model in osteopathic school, it doesn’t mean that MDs don’t practice with this model as well. There are plenty of MDs who treat with the whole patient philosophy in mind. Those first two differences
were just differences in medical school training. Now let’s move on to
residency, which is arguably the most important part
of medical training. In order for a residency program to be considered legitimate, it needs to be authorized
by an accreditation council, and currently there are
two accreditation councils: one for MDs and one for DOs. DOs can train under either
accreditation council, however MDs can only
train under the MD banner. Come 2020, those two
accreditation councils will merge, and allow residents to train
under a unified council, further strengthening my
point that there’re becoming less and less differences
between the two degrees. Now, how about practicing internationally? Well, here, MDs have a distinct advantage, as they’re able to practice medicine in more countries than DOs. Currently about 50 countries
allow full medical licensing for US-trained DOs, with
more countries allowing restricted practicing as well. This restriction stems from the confusion created by European-trained osteopaths, who aren’t medical doctors,
but are only trained in manipulation of the
musculoskeletal system. However, the AOA has
been making great strides in educating foreign governments about US-trained osteopathic doctors. Now what about the applicants? To get into an MD or DO program
is extremely competitive, with the number of applicants
and score requirements rising each year. It’s important to know
that DO schools do accept the non-traditional
medical school applicant: those who are going into medicine as their second career,
or perhaps later in life, or don’t have a scientific background. Also the GPA/MCAT combo
required for admission is slightly lower for DO schools, but that gap is closing each year. Interestingly, because
there are less DO schools, despite the lower requirements, it’s still more competitive
to get into a DO school. A couple more differences. There’s a 9:1 ratio of
MDs to DOs out there, with about 100,000 DOs in active practice. And two, a higher percentage of DOs go into primary care specialties like family medicine,
OBGYN, or pediatrics. Me personally, I chose the DO route, because I’m a fan of treating
the patient as a whole and the prevention aspect. Plus, it never hurts to have
a hands-on tool like OMT. Bottom line is, when
you’re picking your doctor, you should focus less on their degree, and more on their communication skills, knowledge, bedside manner, and experience. (jazzy hip-hop beat)

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